An animal whose image causes great fear, respect and admiration is the crocodile, due to its imposing physique and its large jaw. Although they seem slow animals, they are really terrifying and the truth is that they take some lives where they live, thanks to their ability to change habitats.
Characteristics of the crocodile explained to children
The scientific name of this family is Crocodrylae and they are sauropsids (reptiles) archosaurs. They are the dominant family of reptiles , characterized by their great strength and aggressiveness and, in addition, they are a group of very ancient animals since they have lived on Earth for about 200 million years.
Regarding their characteristics, they can weigh up to 800 kg and 6 meters long . They have a very thick and rough skin , however, crocodiles have a great sensitivity. For this reason they have suffered and suffer from hunting by humans, who use their skins for the leather goods business. This fact has placed these reptiles in danger of extinction , and that is why there are currently laws that penalize this practice and new laws are being created to protect this animal.
They are animals that are adapted to aquatic life , since their nostrils are created to prevent water from entering the lungs during immersion. With them they can also breathe and spend up to six hours immersed in movement and up to two days at rest.
Crocodiles, like all reptiles, do not generate heat through their metabolism, so they must regulate their temperature by their position with respect to the sun or by opening or closing their large jaws. For this reason, it is common to see crocodiles with their mouths open, but without attacking anyone.
The animal has four legs, two front and two back. They have five toes on their front legs and four on the back. With their legs they move practically crawling on the ground and their long tail allows them to maintain their balance, which is important given their weight and their large measurements.
Crocodiles spend most of their lives in water , either in rivers or in mangroves on saltwater beaches, and can move from one habitat to another according to their needs. Crocodiles live in tropical areas of:
- North America.
- Central America.
- Some areas of Asia.
Their diet is carnivorous and is based on crabs, fish, dead animals, birds and, occasionally, zebras, buffalo or wildebeest.
How the crocodile hunts
Like other reptiles, crocodiles are very stealthy animals . When they are submerged in the water, they are approaching little by little while their prey drink water on the shore. As soon as its prey is lost, the crocodile pounces on it and drags it into the river . Later, it fights with its prey until it wins, since the animal is in its midst.
Although the crocodile has large, pointed teeth, it is not able to chew its prey , but instead tears it into large pieces and swallows it. Once this process is finished, they carry out digestion thanks to their gastric juices.
One characteristic of these animals is that they are capable of modifying their metabolism, depending on the amount of food available in their habitat. Thus, when there is a shortage of food, its digestion becomes slower, while if there is abundance, faster.
Only 6 of the 23 known species of crocodiles are considered dangerous . However, their numbers give some respect, since each year almost a thousand people die victims of the attack of a crocodile. In this list, two species stand out above the others and are the Nile crocodile and the marine crocodile. In the American continent, the two that most attacks are registered are the Alligator (which lives in Florida) and the South American alligator.
Crocodiles are wild animals , whose domestication is not possible, and many men are exposed to their risks, by intruding on their habitats and hunting them for commercial purposes.